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MAHOTEP v. DELUCA

May 1, 1998

RAMEL MAHOTEP, Plaintiff,
v.
C.O. NICK DELUCA, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LARIMER

DECISION AND ORDER

 BACKGROUND

 This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ¬ß 1983. Plaintiff, Ramel Mahotep ("Mahotep"), alleges that defendants, Correction Officer Nick DeLuca ("DeLuca"), Correction Sergeant Gary Ellis ("Ellis"), Correction Officer Craig Yackeren ("Yackeren"), Correction Officer Harold Martzolf ("Martzolf"), Executive Assistant Edward McSweeney ("McSweeney"), Correction Lieutenant Thomas Dixon ("Dixon"), Deputy Superintendent for Security Edward Donnelly ("Donnelly"), and First Deputy Superintendent Charles Brunelle ("Brunelle"), violated his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated at Attica Correctional Facility. *fn1"

 Defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, defendants' motion is granted, in part, and denied, in part.

 FACTS

 Mahotep claims that on December 29, 1993, he was physically assaulted by DeLuca, Ellis and Yackeren. As a result of the assault, according to Mahotep, he was hospitalized for fifty days and suffered numerous injuries, including a ruptured testicle, a pinched nerve in his left ankle, severe back pain, and headaches. Mahotep alleges that the assault was in retaliation for his filing of three inmate grievance complaints against defendants DeLuca and Ellis, about a week earlier, on December 21, 1993, which grievances complained about racial harassment and religious persecution. Mahotep further alleges that Brunelle, Donnelly, and Dixon conspired to deny Mahotep due process by forging documents with the intention of denying him a fair and impartial superintendent's hearing. McSweeney, Mahotep claims, "conspired with Attica to deny fair and impartial investigations in the grievance mechanism...." Finally, Mahotep alleges that defendant Martzolf verbally threatened him, threw his food on the floor and threw water on Mahotep's legal papers.

 DISCUSSION

 Mahotep alleges,. in his complaint, that defendants: (1) inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on him in violation of the Eighth Amendment; (2) deprived him of his right to petition the government for redress of grievances under the First Amendment; and (3) denied him due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment.

 I. Summary Judgment Standard

 Summary judgment will be granted if the record demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 1994). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if the record, taken as a whole, could lead a reasonable trier of fact to find in favor of the non-movant. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986).

 The burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact rests on the moving party, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986), and all ambiguities and inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Coach Leatherware Co. v. AnnTaylor, Inc., 933 F.2d 162, 167 (2d Cir. 1991). To defeat summary judgment, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and designate "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 II. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Claim

 The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishments." U.S. Cont. Amend. VIII. In considering whether a prison official has subjected an inmate to cruel and unusual punishment through the use of excessive force, a court must consider both an objective and a subjective component. Branham v. Meachum, 77 F.3d 626, 630 (2d Cir. 1996); Romano v. Howarth, 998 F.2d 101, 104-05 (2d Cir. 1993).

 Objectively, the plaintiff must establish that the alleged deprivation is sufficiently serious or harmful enough to reach constitutional dimensions. Boddie v. Schnieder, 105 F.3d 857, 862 (2d Cir. 1997); Romano, 998 F.2d at 105. Subjectively, in the context of an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim, the plaintiff must establish that the defendants acted "maliciously and ...


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